- Can be accessed from anywhere in the world in real-time
- Can be used on any device (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.)
- Does not have to be installed, runs on any browser
- Does not require additional equipment, e.g. servers and power backups
- Automatic backup and security are managed by dedicated service providers to prevent data loss
- Does not require on-site system or network administrators to maintain the software or equipment
- Can be used offline in areas without internet connectivity and synchronized when a connection is available
- Designed to go beyond data collection and measure performance
- Enables tracking and analysis of all stages of the results chain (inputs, outputs, outcomes and impact)
- Adapts to the framework of the organization (can digitize pre-existing processes)
- Capable of both quantitative and qualitative analysis
- Can manage multiple independent projects or programmes (easily scalable)
- Based on the UNDP Handbook on Monitoring and Evaluating for Results and the DCED Standard for Measuring Results in Private Sector Development.
- User-friendly interface designed for simplicity and proven to be easy to learn
- Standardized data collection for quicker and more meaningful results
- Support for data import and export in most widely used formats
- Horizontally and vertically flexible to any organizational structure
- Secure access through user rights management
- Multilingual presentation for a diverse audience or user-group including people living with disabilities
- Customizable to meet specific end-user requirements
- Guaranteed ROI—cuts cost on manpower and travel costs of traditional M&E; enables more frequent and detailed analysis
Mande.net is designed to maximize the Monitoring and Evaluation process. It enables any organization to track its progress in achieving the goals and objectives it has set out. Regardless of the industry, cause or sector, it is possible to convert any plan into objectives, activities and indicators and the questions that will be used to establish the performance according to these measurements.
Every goal can be broken down into objectives. These group together the planned activities that will be used to achieve the goal. An objective states where you expect to at the end of a given period (a year or more down the line).
These get into the details of how you expect to reach your goals. An activity is planned event or undertaking that has resources assigned to it and an expected output.
An indicator is the milestone that tells you when you are on track or have reached your target. It lets you know what to ask in order to find out where you stand in terms of achieving your goals.
The questions you pose to your responders allow you to get the feedback that you need to establish whether you are meeting your targets. We have separated these because there are many instances when you need to ask more than one question to establish the correct answer.
Once the plans have been set up, users will be able to access the system and respond to the questions that are intended for them to answer. A report is logged every time a user responds to all the questions for a selected reporting period and finalizes it.
When the user has entered their answers, they can view their report online, print it out or download it as a Word document, Excel spreadsheet or PDF document. Users with administrative rights can also do this.
The information entered into these reports is stored in the database and can be used to compile summary and comparison reports for regions, organizational units or time periods. These reports can be in plain text form or can be presented in graphs and pie charts.
The system comes with in-built search capabilities that allow you to narrow down reports or questions according to the date, region, organizational unit, objective, question type, user, etc.
Mande.net offers a large variety of question types that allow you to capture virtually any response. The options aim to make it easy for the user to respond quickly and accurately while avoiding confusion.
This presents the responder with a list of choices to select from. This type of question can be set up to allow only one choice to be selected or several of the available choices. This type of question is useful when the range of responses is known and you want to weed out unwanted answers. It can also be used when you want to suggest a list of responses to the user and only allow them to add an “other” response when theirs does not fall in the list.
This type of question is ideal when the response is expected to be a number. It can be configured to allow either integer or decimal values.
When you want the responder to answer in their own words, this question type allows them to type in their response to the question. Two modes can be selected, either long text (up to 16,000 characters) or short text (limited to 200 characters) to encourage brevity.
This question type is used to prompt the responder to upload documents or spreadsheets to go along with their reports. These are uploaded to the server and can be accessed as part of the report. Apart from choosing the type of question, it is possible to include parameters that dictate whether the question has to be answered.
The type of question you select is also used to validate the responses given. The responses will be limited to either the options you provide, or numbers depending on these choices. Users will not be allowed to enter any invalid data that is not permitted for that field, e.g. text into a numeric field.
When you designate a question as mandatory, it must have a response of the allowed type before the report can be completed. Each time the user tries to finalize a report that has not been completely answered, they will be prompted to provide the missing responses.
In certain cases, a question’s relevance may depend on the response to a previous question. When a question is linked to another through a dependency, it will be disabled until the required answer is selected or entered.
Mande.net has been designed to work for organizations that have multiple branches or regional offices across several countries. In this regard, the web-based nature of the system makes it possible for various users across these geographic locations to access the same system and respond to the same questions without the need for installing any additional software.
Mande.net supports multiple languages which enhances its usability in many locations even when the preferred language of each user is not the same. Each user can opt to view the system in the language of their choice.
Users can also be categorized into organizational units. This governs the type of questions they can respond to and reports they can see. The planner is able to pose questions to certain users or groups of users when it is relevant to these users. This avoids situations where a user has to respond to a question that they are not in a position to answer. They can spend less time clicking or entering none or not applicable and only answer the questions that are meant for them.
This can also be done on a regional basis. You can set up your plan so that only the countries/regions that are carrying out a certain project are required to answer questions regarding that project. Other responders would not even need to know that the project is being undertaken and would not need to provide answers for it.
During the process of setting up your plans, you can also determine how frequently the users need to respond to your questions. The available frequencies are:
Users will be automatically reminded every time they log into the system that they have a report pending for the next reporting period until they finalize that report. The reminder includes a link that takes them directly to the report so they can provide the required information. It is also possible to setup the system to send out reminders by email when the reports are pending from the users.
- For end users, only a web browser and an internet connection are required to access the system.
- The core files that enable the system’s functions must be hosted on a server to make them available on the internet or within an intranet.
- A domain name is required when the system is hosted on the internet. An SSL certificate is optional and is based on the level of security required.
- The system can be installed on either a Microsoft Windows or Linux operating system. • It runs equally well on Apache HTTP Server or Microsoft’s Internet Information Services
- The server environment must be running PHP and MySQL.
- In all cases, it is recommended to have the latest stable versions of the software installed both on the server and for the users accessing the system. This is important in reducing the number of bugs and security risks the system will be exposed to.
- We strongly recommend allowing artKenya.net Ltd. to host the system because it has been thoroughly tested in our hosting environment. Where issues arise, we can easily intervene to resolve them and we can often preempt errors before they occur. The system cannot be guaranteed to work in the same way on different hosting platforms because the configurations and permissions each provider allows vary.
Although Mande.net is designed to meet a wide range of monitoring and evaluation requirements, there are number of customizations that likely need to be made every time it is installed:
- Language – when required, additional languages may need to be added to the system and translation done for the interface into these languages.
- Organizational units – these often vary from one organization to another, so these may need to be added/removed on a case by case basis.
- Regions and Chapters/Branches – again these are specific to each organization depending on the nature of the operation and the areas being focused on.
- Reports – these need to be tweaked to the organizations needs and can sometimes be altered on an annual basis.
The system uses:
- AND MAPPING TOOLS
to measure performance.
A sample planning screen where outputs are mapped to strategic objectives:
- The planning element is designed to incorporate the strategic plan of the organization over a strategic period
- It helps to keep track of objectives, outputs, activities, indicators, targets, outcomes andoverall impact
- Each of these can be scaled to geographical regions, e.g. countries, provinces, counties, districts or larger regions like East Africa
- They are applied to organizational units e.g. country chapters, regional officers, programmemanagers, field officers, etc
- Scalable to multiple independent programmeswithin an organizational scope
Overview of planning elements
A sample survey screen with quantitative and qualitative questions
- Simplifies data collection through a user-friendly interface
- Validationof responses prevents error and ambiguous data
- Use of question logic helps save time and get meaningful qualitative data
- Approval process (draft, review, complete) ensures validity of data
- Surveys can be set to intervals, e.g. monthly, quarterly, annually
- Alert system reminds users when responses are due
- Reports available to authorized users indicating surveys completed or pending
- Questions can be posed in the preferred language of the end-user if necessary
- Data collected can be represented in form of charts, graphs, maps, metersand summaryreports
- Simple or advanced analysis can be done to compare trends, performance, progress, comparison, etc.
- Reports can contain adjustable parameters to search and filter data
- Reports can be exportedin MS Word, Excel, PDF, CSV and XML format and to third-party statistics software, e.g. SPSS
- Data can also be importedfrom other software or databases for reanalysis
- A front-end can grant access to donors, partnersor the general public
A report showing an analysis of trends from 2011-2012 and the progress made towards the target:
A map showing levels of risk to UN activities in Somalia:
- The reasons for undertaking M&E may differ across organisations and between NGOs/CBOs and NSPs, so it is helpful to establish common understanding amongst programme staff and all other stakeholders about the priorities in M&E.
- The priorities in M&E need to be matched with organisational capacity and human and financial resources. M&E activities should aim to meet information requirements without overloading the staff involved and using up a lot of resources. Ideally, the budget for M&E activities should be less than 10% of the overall programme budget.
- A participatory approach to M&E requires that a range of stakeholders are involved. Stakeholders are those with a ‘stake’ or interest in the outcome of the project and may include staff responsible for collecting and analysing monitoring data, those implementing the project, the beneficiaries or project participants, and those providing financial support or technical support.
- Ideally, the development of M&E systems should take place alongside organisational level planning; in other words, at the planning or re-planning stages of the project cycle. This ensures that M&E procedures stay relevant to programme implementation, and avoids the common pitfall of developing M&E as an afterthought.